I read this article this morning, Why I Love Weird Porn, which has very little to do with loving weird porn, and much more to do with appreciating communities that the Internet has fostered/allowed to flourish.

The author says, "There's a term in the fan fiction community, "drawerfic". It arises from the answer to "What was your first fanfic?" given by everyone who grew up pre-internet: "This thing I wrote in a notebook when I was 14 and kept in a drawer and never showed anyone." Every little girl making porn (and not all fic writers are girls and not all fanfic is porn, but they mostly are and an awful lot of it is) thought she was the only one. Her creativity came pre-stifled and then it was back to Gilligan's Island. Fan fiction only became a community, became huge, when these girls began meeting, began corresponding, began exchanging fictions as gifts and trades. First in homemade zines, then exploding beyond all measure on the internet. Now it's one of the largest gift economies on earth, with untold millions of words a day being exchanged, people (mostly women) making things in exchange for other things people made. There's your cognitive surplus right there."

(More about fandom under the cut)

The first fanfic I ever read was a Veronica Mars Mac/Weevil pairing by [livejournal.com profile] scoob2222 that is, unfortunately, no longer available.  I read the fic sometime in mid-2007, and I was having a really difficult time dealing with my home life.  (We had just adopted my daughter, and she was 4 years old, and (understandably) pissed off, and her raging and frustration was hard to face.  And the language barrier was no picnic.)  On the day I discovered [livejournal.com profile] scoob2222's Mac/Weevil fic, I had been reduced to dragging my shrieking child into a nail salon, because she was sitting in the back of the car, screaming at me in Vietnamese, and I could not figure out what she wanted.  In desperation, I pulled into a nail salon, picked up my hysterical daughter from the backseat, walked into the salon and said, "Is there anybody in here who can speak Vietnamese?"  (I wish I was making this up.  I'm not.  It was not my proudest moment of motherhood.)  Four women stood up and surrounded my sobbing child.  They were able to tell me that my daughter wanted, in no particular order: her foster mom, some boiled vegetables, and to not have to ride in a car seat. 

Obviously, the only one of those requests I was able to fulfill was the boiled vegetables.  (What she wanted was sweet potato greens with fish sauce.  Since Americans do not generally eat sweet potato greens, I have tried many different types of greens over the past few years trying to find something that tastes similar.  Her preference now is spinach with fish sauce, garlic and chilies.  I can make this practically in my sleep, which is funny because I hate spinach and I won't eat it.  It is the only dish I cook that I don't also eat.) 

Later that evening, I was reading the blogs of other older child adoptive parents, immersing myself in the very tiny community of other parents who were having similar experiences, when I read an entry from another mom who said that when she was really at the end of her rope with her son, she escaped into Veronica Mars fanfiction. 

I was intrigued.  I did a Google search for Veronica Mars Fanfiction, and I tumbled down a rabbit hole and landed on [livejournal.com profile] scoob2222's fic.  

I don't know how many times I read it.  Dozens of times.  And during the 1/2 hour drive every day to my daughter's pre-school at the university, and during the drive home after work, when my daughter would begin screaming about her car seat, in my head I would return to that first Mac/Weevil fic...it was almost as if it became my calm, happy place. 

During that whole long, frustrating, anxiety riddled year, I imagined dozens of sequels to that first fic, and of the other fics I began to read.  Fandom became the place where I could leave aside the hard things that were happening with my daughter, and then the mounting horror of watching my boss/uncle/father-figure very slowly and painfully losing his battle with colon cancer.  Fandom was my escape. 

And I met other people with whom I could obsess about fictional characters with, and there was a huge comfort in that.  (I have been talking and playing Scrabble with [livejournal.com profile] vanessagalore every day for almost four years, and I never would have met her had it not been for fandom.  And that would have been tragic - at this point, if there's anyone who knows all my deepest, darkest secrets, aside from Mr. ZD, it's VanessaGalore.)

So while I probably wouldn't publish an article declaring my love for weird porn (okay, yeah, I have some mad love for some pretty weird porn, but this is just LJ where I'm making this declaration, not Jezebel.com) - I think the greater point of the article is a good one - that fandom can bring people together in ways never contemplated before. It's brought me to places where I can unabashedly love the things I love simply because I love them, and I love that.
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